By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
One may wonder how in the world cardboard could be used in the garden.
Well, it has more uses then you think but before we go on we need to learn about cardboard.
Cardboard comes in many shapes, sizes and types.
The type that needs to be used in the garden is the corrugated type that is not covered in plastic.
This plastic can be tape or the decorative coating that covers many boxes on the outside. This covering informs the buyer what is inside.
The other characteristic of cardboard that one needs is the corrugated type. The reason for this is the glue. Healthy soil organisms will not only eat the cardboard but will delight in the glue, which in most cases is made from animals.
Do not worry about colored ink. The tiny amount of heavy metals that could be released is so small that they do not cause any physical harm to humans.
Once you have the correct cardboard, the next question is what do you do with it in the garden. Below are three time-tested uses for cardboard in the garden. While there are many, many more, these ideas will get you started.
1. Grow a salad in a cardboard box. A very simple greenhouse can be created with that box that is perfect for salad greens. It does not take up much space and can be used over and over again. This type of planter can provide you with year-round greens and can create garden space for those who are landless.
2. Start a mulch or lasagna garden. In this garden style, cardboard is used not only as a carbon source but also a way of killing grass and/or weeds in the garden. From the cardboard layer, the garden is then layered with compost and then straw. This is allowed to cook and then in the spring the garden is ready to plant.
3. In the compost pile/bin. Adding cardboard to the compost pile during the spring and summer is a great way of balancing the carbon/nitrogen ration when brown material is not available. To do this, simply cut the cardboard into pieces or strips and place in the bin. After that the healthy bacteria and fungi will find the cardboard and munch away.
Cardboard in many cases is a free material that can be used in the garden in many ways. Let me know how you use cardboard in your garden space.
So until we blog again, never again view a cardboard box as trash but instead as a container with numerous possibilities and uses.